SA Leadership Podcast Episode #136

Learn From Reflective Thinking


Learn From Reflective Thinking

To doubt everything or to believe everything are two equally convenient solutions; both dispense with the necessity of reflection” – Julius Poincare

The pace of our society does not encourage reflective thinking. Most people would rather act than think. Do not misunderstand my thoughts, I love action and high energy. Our thoughts however, are more like a crock-pot that allows things to slowly come to a simmer until you are ready for action. The goal in reflective thinking is to learn from successes, mistakes, and try to figure what should not be repeated. By mentally visiting past situations, you can think with greater understanding. Consider the following five (5) insights regarding reflective thinking.

Reflective Thinking Gives You True Perspective

When you reflect, you are able to put an experience into perspective. You are able to evaluate its timing. You are able to gain a new appreciation for things that before were unnoticed. Most people are able to recognize the sacrifices of their parents or other people only when they become parents themselves. That is the kind of perspective that comes from reflection.

Reflective Thinking Gives Emotional Integrity To Your Thought Life

Few people have good perspective in the heat of an emotional moment. Most individuals who enjoy the thrill of an experience try to go back and recapture it without first trying to evaluate it. This is one of the reasons our culture produces so many thrill seekers. Likewise, those who survive a traumatic experience usually avoid similar situations at all costs, which sometimes ties them into emotional knots. President Washington stated, “We ought not to look back unless it is to derive useful lessons from past errors, and for purposes of profiting by dearly bought experience.”

Reflective Thinking Increases Your Confidence In Decision-making

Have you ever made a snap judgment and later wondered if you did the right thing? Everybody has! Reflective thinking can help defuse that doubt. It also gives you confidence for the next decision. Your thoughts become mental road-makers that help you navigate the next time you pass that issue again.

Reflective Thinking Clarifies The Big Picture

When you engage in reflective thinking, you can put ideas and experiences into a more accurate context. It encourages us to return and revisit life by pondering what we have done and where we have been. This will allow you to see parts of the story that you may have been blinded by. New realities emerge in terms of skills for the future or reasons why failure was so painful.

Reflective Thinking Takes A Good Experience and Makes It A Valuable Experience

William Shakespeare wrote, “Experience is a jewel, and it had need be so, for it is often purchased at an infinite rate.” It is not necessarily the experience that becomes valuable. It is the wisdom gained by means of the experience. Reflective thinking turns experience into insight!

How to embrace the lessons of reflective thinking.

Set aside time for reflection

Remove yourself from distractions

Regularly review your calendar

Ask the right questions

  • Personal Growth – What have I learned today?
  • Adding Value – To whom did I add value?
  • Leadership – Did I lead by example?
  • Personal Faith – Did I represent God well today?
  • Marriage & Family – Did I communicate love to my family today?
  • Inner Circle – Have I spent time with key people on my team?
  • Discoveries – What did I encounter that requires more time to think?

Cement your learning through actions

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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